ON SET

Photos: Behind the Scenes: La Grande Sortie

Photographer Alex Prager takes us through the steps.


1

“I had never done anything in dance before. I had no idea what I was getting into. It ended up being a much bigger production than I imagined. So I’m actually glad I didn’t know.”

2

“I did a little ballet, and a little tap. I still remember some of my tap moves. But The Red Shoes is one my favorite movies—it’s had a huge impact on everything that I do.”

3

“I couldn’t audition the dancers beforehand, but because Emilie is from one of the biggest ballet groups in the world, I assumed she could also act. Ballet is a performance, and she’s one of the most precise professionals I have ever met.”

4

“Karl Paquette is the male dancer with Emilie. I worked very closely with the choreographer Sebastien Marcovici, who is Benjamin Millipied’s right hand man.”

5

“I really wanted the backdrop to be green, but my production designer in Paris kept sending sketches back with the backdrop blue. Finally, one day I was like, ‘This must be a fucking language barrier!’ So finally I asked him. And it turns out that in France it’s bad luck to have the stage be green, because in the past green had a toxin in it that was said to have killed actors. And of course I thought, Now it has to be green!”

6

“I had a still photographer documenting everything behind the scenes, but I was also making pictures with my film camera for my exhibition next year at Lehmann Maupin.”

7

“Emilie’s hair and makeup had to get more unraveled as she unraveled. So I kept spraying her with a water bottle and messing up her eyebrows. And we pushed the camera closer and closer in on her—something you never see in ballet on TV—until she becomes a crazy person.”